MANUFACTURING CHAMPIONS JANUARY 2019
Joan Stewart, operations
The 2018 Manufacturing Leader
winner, Joan Stewart, has 38 years’
service at Skelmersdale shoe manufacturer
Hotter, and has long-serving staff that have worked for Hotter
for, in one case, 50 years and another who is still working at 73;
testimony to their dedication to her. She also helped the company
win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2015.
Thanks to her production leadership, the factory set a new
production record of 55,000 pairs of shoes made in one week –
more than a pair every 20 seconds. Joan also led the production
of Hotter’s limited-edition shoes, worn by all the ambassadors at
the recent Royal Wedding.
Joan saved the company £470,000 each year by reorganising
the warehouse and returns teams. However, Joan is loved by
Hotter for more than just fi nancial gains: 29 of her staff secured
promotions across the business in the last 12 months.
It’s clear to see that Joan constantly works hard for not only
the company, but also the people she manages. She has made
a positive impact in every aspect of her job, making her a true
champion Manufacturing Leader.
BIT Team, Crowcon
A commitment to lean manufacturing is the order of the day for
this year’s Team of the Year. At the Abingdon factory of gas sensor
manufacturer, Crowcon, a complete shakeup of the shopfl oor
was needed. The Business Improvement Technique (BIT) Team, a
crack squad of problem-solvers, was formed to try and get to the
bottom of ineffi cient processes and slipping standards.
In partnership with lean specialists Fedden USP, the BIT Team
was challenged with fi nding at least a 20% uplift in productivity.
After a period of data gathering, using techniques such as process
mapping, TIMWOODS waste analysis and good old-fashioned
operator feedback, the team was able to identify a number of
improvements to the process.
The main challenge facing the team was to change the culture
away from a traditional ‘batch and queue’ process to a fl ow line
one, with a focus on completing all the steps of the process
within a standard working time. Operators now only focus on
one stage of the build process, as opposed to building the entire
product in one go.
The changes have been a success for Crowcon – the company
is now able to expand its revenues, with production able to keep
up with growing demand.
Phil Draper, mobile installer,
He-Man Dual Controls
Phil’s role was entirely workshop-based
until he stepped up to create a mobile
installation service, rather than the
customers having to always come
to the company’s site in Southampton. He learnt the
administration and marketing side of the business, frequently
working way beyond his regular hours.
By July 2018, mobile installations had grown to over 50% of
He-Man’s installation revenue and total installation revenue had
already exceeded the same period in the previous year, despite
a reduced market. Phil also off ered his assistance and stood in
as a designer when the design team was short, working on cars
supplied for a large contract. Whilst the design team maintained
their basic hours, Phil again worked voluntarily in his own time.
Not only did Phil go through a rapid learning curve on the
physical design inside the car, he also learned to produce CAD
drawings for the parts he had designed.
Anyone who volunteers to take on responsibilities that
weren’t their own to begin with deserves great recognition.
Phil is an integral part of his workplace, with his work spanning
across multiple sectors, and a true Unsung Hero.
Lynn Willacy, community &
STEM ambassador, Air Products
Lynn sees her role of getting young
people excited about science and
engineering, ultimately encouraging them to consider careers
in the industrial gas sector, as very important. Thanks to Lynn’s
involvement in growing Air Products’ network of science
ambassadors, the number of ambassadors has more than doubled
from 35 to over 70, importantly including 28 women.
In June this year, she devised and organised an ‘out of this
world’ experience for 60, 11-13 year-olds from schools across
England, called Space Camp. The ‘junior astronauts’ spent a
week at Space Camp, learning all there is to know about space
and science. Our judges loved the idea of Space Camp, with some
of them noting that they would like to go themselves.
A focus on the next generation runs deep at Air Products:
one student recently secured an apprenticeship at Bentley
Motors, after her work experience at Air Products pointed her
into a more technical fi eld.
This is exactly what being a Skills & Community Champion
is about – making a true diff erence to young people and
encouraging them in a rewarding career in manufacturing.